Actual Music Quartet RSM - Actual Music Quartet RSM

8 songs
42:03 minutes
***** ****


Actually I normally don’t like it when bands try to describe their music too intellectually, and AMQ RSM do just that. To summarise the complicated description on their label’s homepage, this quartet plays rock music free from any kind of stereotypes. Now a lot of bands claim to do that, but in this case it really works. The Russians’ debut album starts quite unpretentiously with Tram Song, before Number Two is a first highlight of instrumental progressive rock with a pulsating bass line that build up tension. Two shorter tracks follow. RM is very cinematic with a brooding glockenspiel making for a sombre atmosphere. Grooba couldn’t be more different. This is fusion jazz at its craziest. I wonder how many knots the musicians had to untangle from their fingers after having recorded this short but wild piece. The second half of songs is more homogenous in nature, with the band combining jazz rock with postrock, dismissing the progressive elements most of the time. The seamless joining of these two styles works in favour of the band though, crafting an original sound as if Tortoise during their TNT-era joined up with Soft Machine when Allan Holdsworth was their guitarist in the mid-Seventies.

It’s clear from the beginning that the people behind Actual Music Quartet RSM are gifted and classically trained musicians who have experience in jazz music. The wide array of used instruments (guitars, keyboards, flute, bass, double-bass, drum-kit, piano, mandolin, vibraphone, bells, assorted percussions, electronic devices, etc.) makes for a sonic richness which is unparalleled. Their debut album starts off as a wild crossover between genre boundaries in the first half, to end with more contemplative songs that are never really that long, but therefore are thoroughly composed and are proof of the band’s already exception songwriting maturity. I am tempted to declare this the best album yet to be released on their label. This is a must-have for every fan of jazz rock fusion music.

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